Pre-Freshman Program

Each year, approximately 180 students begin Penn by joining the Pre-Freshman Program (PFP). PFP is an academically rigorous and intensive four-week summer program preceding New Student Orientation (NSO). Program participants receive comprehensive support services that begin with PFP and continue throughout the students’ undergraduate experience at Penn. PFP is a chance for participating students to get an academic and social edge, while quickly becoming familiar with campus resources and the Penn community. The program, while academic in nature, encourages students to form lasting bonds of friendships through regular social and cultural activities. Students who have participated in the program report that it has made the difference in their life at Penn.

Participating Students Receive the Following Benefits:

  • Preparation for the academic rigors of a Penn education
  • One-on-one interaction with world-renowned faculty and advanced-level graduate students in both academic and non-academic settings
  • Workshops on topics of interest to first-year students
  • Training in college study strategies and time management
  • Academic, personal, and career counseling by staff professionals who will work individually with participants throughout their undergraduate careers at Penn
  • A Peer Mentor who, for their entire first year, will help familiarize them with college life and University resources, helping to ease their transition to Penn.
  • Knowledge of campus resources
  • Opportunities to form a strong peer support network
  • Familiarity with the cultural and historical environment of greater Philadelphia
  • Community-building activities
  • An opportunity to build new friendships

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can participate in the Pre-Freshman Program (PFP)?
    • PFP is by invitation: select incoming freshmen from all over the country, including internationally, are invited to apply to the program. Many of the 160-180 participants each year are students who are the first in their families to attend college; income-eligible students; students underrepresented in their field of study; from large urban high schools and small rural communities; and/or athletes. But, no matter what their backgrounds, the Pre-Freshman Program draws a unique and talented group of students who are interested in getting a head start on their college careers.
  • How does the selection process work?
    • As there is only a limited amount of space in the program, the Admissions Office, together with the four undergraduate schools, make decisions on who is invited based on who they believe can benefit the most from this intensive, four-week experience.
  • What are the dates of the program?
    • The 2021 Pre-Freshman Program begins on Saturday, July 24th, and ends on Saturday, August 21st. This year the program will be hybrid (two weeks virtual, two weeks residential/in person).
    • The program will begin virtually on Saturday, July 24th. Beginning Thursday, August 5th, courses will observe a quiet period/period of understanding during which students may begin travel to campus in time for an August 6th or 7th move-in. Classes will resume in-person on Monday, August 9th.
  • Are there any costs associated with PFP?
    • There are no costs associated with the program.
  • How much academic work will be required?
    • Once accepted to the Pre-Freshman Program, attendance is mandatory for all academic and co-curricular courses and events. Students can expect to spend approximately five hours per day in classroom activities, plus homework, and co-curricular programs.
      Download 2021 PFP Course Descriptions (PDF)
      Students will receive one course unit upon successfully completing the Program and this credit can be applied as a free elective towards graduation requirements.
  • Will my summer savings/earnings expectation be adjusted in my financial aid award?
    • Additional grant funding will will be provided to cover lost summer earnings. Students who have specific questions about their financial aid package should contact Student Registration and Financial Services at 215-898-1988.
  • Will the cost of traveling to Penn be covered?
    • Because this program runs directly into the start of the academic year, students are expected to use their travel funding as included in their financial aid award to arrive to the program. Students who have specific questions about their financial aid package should contact Student Registration and Financial Services at 215-898-1988.
  • Can I work during the program?
    • There is a time commitment of approximately six hours per day in class, plus additional time devoted to homework and other co-curricular activities.  As such, it is not recommended that students work during PFP. Penn replaces a portion of the summer earnings expectation in financial aid awards to accommodate this recommendation.